REAL NAME: MICHELLE LEIGH MCCOOL
NICKNAMES: Michelle McCool
SIZE: 5-foot-10, 127-pounds
BORN: January 25, 1980 in Palatka, Florida
It was an unlikely marriage between a small-town Christian girl and a huge multinational wrestling company intent on bolstering its roster of beautiful brawling babes.
An all-star athlete in high school, Michelle McCool went on to become a sixth grade teacher in her hometown of Palatka, Florida. She kept her nose in athletics, competing in National Physique Committee fitness contests while also teaching gymnastics.
Then, in the summer of 2004, McCool decided to try out for the Raw Diva Search Contest. Although Christy Hemme would beat all the other contestants, WWE apparently saw something in McCool that they liked, and inked her to a three-year developmental deal in November 2004.
WWE immediately put McCool on TV, and she debuted as a fitness trainer on SmackDown, appearing in vignettes in which she helped some of the talent with their stretching techniques. Her first wrestling match came in March, as she teamed up with Big Show to defeat Rene Dupree and Dawn Marie. In June, she got involved in an angle with MNM -- Melina, Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury -- when she defended John Heidenreich against Melina's biting insults. On June 30, 2005, Melina would use the ropes to get a pinfall over McCool, and then Nitro and Mercury came down to give McCool their Snapshot Neckbreaker finisher.
From there, McCool was sent down to Deep South Wrestling, which was at that time one of WWE's developmental territories. She was put in all kinds of situations: wrestling, conducting promos, segments, and colour commentating. But in October, McCool was hospitalized after suffering an allergic reaction to Ibuprofen, and was forced to miss some shows. In March, she went to Ohio Valley Wrestling and worked as a valet for K.C. James and Amish Roadkill.
At the start of June 2006, McCool returned to SmackDown, working another reality-based gimmick, this time as a sexy teacher. She worked alongside Kristal Marshall against Ashley Massaro and Jillian Hall, and her first singles win came against Hall in July 2006. McCool then formed "The Teacher's Pets" with K.C. James and Idol Stevens. They chased after the WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick, but were unable to ever take the straps.
In November, McCool was hospitalized for around two weeks due to an enlarged kidney, which caused an electrolyte imbalance. Tests also confirmed she'd suffered a broken sternum. Unconfirmed rumours suggested McCool's condition came about as a result of an eating disorder and taking too many diet pills. Her life continued to take a few downturns, including her divorce from her high school sweetheart Jeremy Alexander.
McCool returned to the SmackDown roster in March 2007, and restarted her feud with Hall. She also starred in a series of vignettes over the next few months in which she proclaimed her love of life. By September, she was riding to the ring with Chuck Palumbo on his chopper. They'd feud with Kenny Dykstra and Victoria for awhile, and then Jamie Noble entered the picture. Noble defeated the much larger Palumbo in successive matches on SmackDown and signed on for a third confrontation, which would garner him a date with McCool if he managed to win again. When he did and they had their date, it seemed to cause friction between McCool and her friend Palumbo.
First, Palumbo freaked out on McCool when they lost a mixed tag match against Dykstra and Victoria. The situation got out of hand when they tagged with Noble to take on John Morrison (formerly Johnny Nitro), The Miz, and Layla El. The match ended in a no contest when Palumbo went after his own partner Noble, causing Noble to fall into McCool, who was standing on the apron. As EMTs tended to McCool, Palumbo mugged Noble. When McCool tried to intervene, Palumbo seemed to accidentally elbow her to the ground.
He attempted to apologize on the next SmackDown, but McCool slapped him. This just brought out Palumbo's inner ugly American, and he acted like a jerk in squashing Noble in their subsequent matches, and helping Victoria beat McCool. The storyline ended abruptly when Noble told a seemingly relieved McCool he wasn't a one woman type of guy and was letting her "off the hook and back into the sea."
McCool wouldn't be on her own for long, joining the babyface Divas to take on the heels. Beth Phoenix's team of heels would defeat Mickie James' babyface squad (which included McCool) at Backlash, although James' team took the duke in a rematch the next night on Raw.
But singles action would be where McCool would find her greatest success. Qualifying for a title shot by winning one of the two Golden Dreams matches, McCool faced and defeated Natalya Neidhart at Great American Bash to become WWE's first Divas' Champion.
In spite of being outnumbered as she feuded with Victoria, Neidhart, and Maryse Ouellet, McCool still managed to retain her title for five months. She finally succumbed to Ouellet in late December on SmackDown, with Maria Kanellis acting as referee. McCool took out her frustrations on Kanellis, beating her down before throwing her into a ring post.
McCool would "retire" Victoria before aligning herself with old enemies Neidhart and Ouellet to take on Kanellis and Eve Torres. The feud soon drew Melina and a returning Gail Kim. All the Divas met at WrestleMania 25 to crown a "Miss WrestleMania," but it would be Santino Marella in drag who would win the 25-Diva Battle Royal.
With Alicia Fox's help, McCool would beat Kim to become the number one contender for WWE Women's Champion Melina's title. A tag match involving McCool and Melina would result in McCool suffering a broken nose at the hands of the champ. After a match in which Melina defeated Fox, McCool jumped the champion and knocked her out right under the announce table. She then promised to become the first woman ever to hold both the Divas' and Women's title belts.
---compiled by Richard Kamchen
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